MDI Biological Laboratory

MDIBL Alum ‘Pays it Forward’ At AZ Mayo Clinic

  • October 21, 2022

Alum Alfred D. Doyle, Ph.D., talks about his experiences at the MDI Biological Laboratory and how they shaped his career.

Can you share a bit about your time at MDIBL?

Alfred and Dr. Wang work on a dogfish shark (1995).

In 1995, I spent a wonderful summer as a student fellow at MDIBL and had a formative experience with Dr. Rui Wang researching dogfish cardiomyocytes.  Dr. Wang provided invaluable lessons in how to develop and pursue scientific ideas that I pass on to my students to this day.  This experience was supported by a National Science Foundation Young Scholars Program Co-Op award.

I was also a student of Dr. Jane Disney at MDIHS in 1995.  I’ve never forgotten the educational experience Dr. Disney provided and have been reminded of her ongoing research by my younger brother, Victor, who is a fisherman on MDI.  In addition to teaching an engaging science course she helped me pursue an independent study where I made a UV box and collected water samples around my hometown looking for coliform bacteria. That was a great experience for me and nurtured my love of science.  I am forever grateful for Dr. Disney’s efforts and have tried to pay it forward by mentoring many students (high school to doctoral) over the years.

I would add that my brother Victor, also enjoyed having Dr. Disney as a teacher, and remains involved in water quality monitoring and improvements locally and statewide.

What are you up to now?

I am an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.  I run a research program exploring causes, mechanisms, diagnostics and treatments for food allergy with a focus on eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) at Mayo Clinic in Arizona together with my physician-scientist co-PI Ben Wright. We are new to social media, but we recently started a Twitter page.

Looking back, what is one impact of your MDIBL experience?

I was thinking recently of Dr. Disney’s work and how it continues to influence my research. I have ventured into exploring the environmental factors contributing to EoE (Eosinophilic esophagitis, a chronic allergic disease associated with type 2 inflammation and epithelial barrier dysfunction) particularly thinking about things we ingest. Our recent article in Allergy, the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, “Detergent exposure induces epithelial barrier dysfunction and eosinophilic inflammation in the esophagus”, hypothesizes that detergent exposure decreases epithelial barrier function and induces esophageal inflammation.

Sidebar photo: Dr. Doyle’s lab at the Mayo Clinic (L-R Addy Dao, undergrad student; Jessica Gibson, post-bacc technologist; Arina Putikova, post-bacc intern; Danna Ortiz, undergrad student; Dr. Doyle; Dr. Wright; Will LeSuer, supervisor; Hui Luo, technologist; Aliviya Schulze, undergrad student; Mia Masuda, doctoral student; Grace Pyon, post-bacc technologist. Post-bacc technologists are enrolled in a hybrid employment/training program with the goal of preparing for further scientific/medical education).